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Lincolnshire County Council set to approve £1.8m IT investment

Leaders from the Lincolnshire County Council are set to approve an investment of around £1.8m into redesigning the authority’s IT systems, seeking to fix the series of “significant” issues which have beset the current system.

The council will look to adopt systems from, and become part-owner of, Hoople Ltd.

Hoople currently overseas a number of services including human resources, payroll and finance for a number of public sector organisations.

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The current system used by the council, delivered as part of its £70m IT, finance and HR services contract with Serco, suffered from number of issues related to poor performance and difficulties in configuring the software. Those issues affected both the local authority themselves, as well as the 160-plus schools it looks after.

Lincolnshire County Council’s current contract with Serco – who also took over operation the authority’s customer services centre – was due to end in 2020, before being voted to be extended last year until the end of March 2022.

In a report presented before councillors on Tuesday, officers said the current system was incorrectly set up and is “contributing to the inability to address a number of ongoing issues and is limiting the ability to take advantage of the full functionality.”

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When addressing the inclusion of Hoople into the council’s IT systems, the officer’s report said: ““Whilst the investment in the reconstruction of the system is significant, [it] is not sustainable in its current state and a re-design will remove duplicated and inefficient processes.

The authority praised Hoople’s previous success and said incorporating the company would cost the council half a million pounds less than if it had taken on the job itself. In becoming part-owner of the company – alongside Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust – the council would also have greater control over the development of the system.

Hoople is looking to agree a seven-year agreement from the authority with an option to extend for a further two years. It is hoped the move will be finished by April 2021.


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